David Seymour, CHIM (1911-1956) – Magnum Photojournalist
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David Seymour, CHIM, legendary photojournalist and co-founder of Magnum Photos, produced some of the most memorable photos of the 20th century. Born in Warsaw, Poland, he studied graphic arts in Leipzig, and then turned to photography in 1933 during the continuation of his studies at the Sorbonne in Paris.
He covered many important political events for leading magazines including Life, beginning with the Spanish Civil War. At the outbreak of World War II he made his way to New York. During the war he served as a photo-interpreter with the U.S. Air Force in Europe.
In 1947, CHIM co-founded Magnum, the international photojournalists’ cooperative, with his friends Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, George Rodger and William Vandivert.
His postwar series of photographs of the physically and spiritually maimed “Children of Europe” attracted worldwide attention, was published in a book by UNESCO, and became part of the posthumous exhibit, “CHIM’s Children.” The sympathetic and compassionate portraits of these small victims of war led a friend to note that to CHIM, wars were an enormous crime against children.
Fluent in several languages, with deep affinities for many countries and peoples, CHIM was truly international. Among his many photographic essays are outstanding portraits of Audrey Hepburn and Pablo Picasso.
CHIM was killed at Suez, while photographing for Newsweek, by an Egyptian machine-gunner in 1956, four days after the Armistice was signed.
– Ben Shneiderman and Helen Sarid, nephew and niece of David Seymour